Much has been written about the extent that nurture helps to form the individual being. And, it is in that vein that I contemplate my Iowa roots, and my young years as a farm girl. I’ve lived many more years off the farm than on, yet I owe so much to those early years when my summers were free and I had lots of open space to roam.
Being the second of seven siblings, there was a certain amount of responsibility to the position. But, I really can’t say that I was overworked, and in fact, I had a great deal of freedom in deciding how my days were spent. I certainly got to watch my share of Get Smart and Gilligan’s Isle. However, I do like to point out that my mom got her first dishwasher the fall I left for college.
There were, of course, times when all hands were on deck to harvest, freeze, and can vegetables and fruit from the garden. And it is those memories that are dearer to me than many others. There was great satisfaction in freezing or canning strawberries, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, corn, tomatoes, and many others.
We all had a part once old enough to manage the chore, and I can still see four or five of us sitting around the kitchen table with cake pans in front of us, holding ears of corn on end, and slicing off the rows of kernels to fill the freezer. I think that working with the corn was my sister Mary’s and my favorite harvesting duty. We•d try a nibble here and there, and when we found a particularly great tasting one, we•d share with the other.
It was great to have the outdoors, garden and fields, creek, barns, and sheds to poke around. There wasn’t much for boundaries, and as we grew we would venture up the road to our neighbors• homes, or saddle up the horses and ride over to our cousins• farm. I can remember standing on our rolling lawn, under the large old sycamore trees, feeling the wind blowing against my face and through my hair, feeling free and pondering what would happen in life.
Years later, I still revel in those early memories. I can’t drive through Iowa without feeling exhilarated from the beautiful fields, skies, wandering cattle, and fence lines. I don’t hear a dove cooing without being back on our front porch in the summer evening. And, when I see a spectacularly beautiful red sunset, I find myself •home• and looking out the west window of our family kitchen, beginning the makings of supper.
There is great power in recounting good memories from younger years. They tie us together, they ground us, they take us back to simpler times. Sometimes, they call us to rediscover the joy we knew. And for me, they transport me to our beautiful farm where summers felt long and life had much to offer.
In the spirit of Iowa corn fields, I’ll share a couple of corn recipes. It’s summer, and there isn’t much better eating than corn on the cob. Especially, when my husband is grilling it!
Mark’s Corn on the Cob
Take the husks and silk off of as many ears of corn as you want to grill. Heat the grill to a low medium. Lay the ears of corn in the pan and drizzle some olive oil over them, then take each ear in your hands and rub the oil over all the kernels. This will keep the ears from sticking to the grill and will flavor the corn.
Place the ears on the grill and turn after a few minutes to check the progress. Cooking time will vary based on grill heat, but you probably will need at least 12 minutes for the kernels to turn more golden in color. Continue to periodically turn the ears. Some of the kernels will caramelize and char and give the corn a great flavor. You can season with salt and pepper at the table as desired. No butter is needed, but that is up to you.
Andy’s Corn Casserole
We discovered this winning recipe while I was living with my brother in Las Vegas. It has become a favorite, and Mark’s niece and nephew ask for it when we plan family get-togethers.
Preheat oven to 350
Get 3 cups of fresh cut corn or two 9 ounce packages frozen corn. Cook fresh corn for two to three minutes in one cup of water. Follow package directions if cooking frozen corn. Drain well. Combine corn in a mixing bowl with:
One 6 ounce can of evaporated milk (I use fat free)
1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion (or more if desired)
• teaspoon of salt
A few dashes of cracked pepper
• cup of grated Swiss cheese (if Swiss is not a favorite, other white cheese will work)
Turn into a greased baking dish, 10 x 6 x 1 1/2’• (I use a deep round casserole). Toss • cup of soft bread crumbs with 1 tablespoon of butter and • cup of Swiss cheese, and sprinkle on top of corn mixture. Or, you can simply sprinkle seasoned dry bread crumbs on top. Bake for 25 minutes at 350, or until the sides bubble and the top firms and turns browns.
Coaching Inquiries: What did you find to be nurturing in your childhood? Were there people, places, events, or activities that you especially enjoyed or think of fondly? Do you ever •replay• those memories in order to touch base with your roots and to feel that joy? As you take some time for yourself this summer, consider reconnecting with some of those childhood things that were special to you, and enjoy a grilled ear of corn.
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May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Kate Kriynovich (Kate@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International
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